Monday, August 9, 2010

It Was Me! I Was the Turkey All Along!*

I would like to start the week off by saying that I am not responsible for your behavior. No, I don't live in a vacuum, and neither do you, but I am really getting sick of being held responsible, as the proud owner of two X chromosomes, for the behavior of every owner of an X and a Y.

Oh, yeah, the cranky pants are back on, baby!

Did you know it's my fault that men are no longer gentlemen and armless women wait forever in cars yearning to be free? Really, it is. And your fault, too, if you are a doubleXer. (XYers are responsible for nothing, apparently.)

A gentleman was a man who took care to serve and protect those weaker than
him – either physically, mentally, or financially – a man who showed respect and
consideration for others both by courteous manners and good grooming. It is for
this man, or should I say, his modern day equivalent, that I am an advocate
today. The gentleman has all but disappeared in our day, and it is high time we
brought him back.

For decades gentlemanly behavior has experienced decline. Not only are men
becoming less apt to offer service, but ladies are much more likely to refuse
it. A man gives up when his assistance is consistently shunned and so does the
poor lady left sitting in the car waiting for a gentleman to open the

Good grooming? Is the writer offended by modern fashions or something, because I don't really run into a lot of dirty, smelly men on a daily basis.

I am fully well capable of opening doors, even car doors, myself. I even- gasp!- open doors for others. I have these things, called arms**, and attached to these arms are hands, and with them I can do things like open doors and type. In fact, women can also use these fabulous appendages to become doctors and lawyers and soldiers. I know, it's totally amazing!

Also, can this asshat really not figure out why women would be hesitant to accept help from a strange man? Really? I don't even watch the news because it's always filled with stories about women being abducted, raped and killed. I know that most rapes and murders (of women) are committed by men the women knew, but still, it makes you a little nervous around strangers. (Being a woman 101: Is that man going to rape me? What about that man? He looks a little suspicious. That one looks nice, which is probably a front for his rapish intent. Seriously, we think these things.)

The answer, unfortunately, is that we all contain within ourselves a deeply
entrenched root of self-centeredness. Self-centeredness is the antithesis of
what makes a man a gentleman. And until it is overcome, consistency in
gentlemanly behavior is impossible.

While self-centeredness might not cause you to consciously choose not to
open a door, it will instead keep you from even noticing that the door needs to
be opened! Self-centeredness blinds you to the standing female and the woman
burdened with her heavy boxes because if your mind is absorbed with how to make
yourself more comfortable, how to satisfy your own needs, it cannot at the same
time be focused on serving others.

I fail to see how this is peculiar to men. What about any woman that has failed to open a door for a man laden with boxes? Why am I not held to the same standard as the guys? Oh, right, my useless female arms. They don't really do anything.

Now, I appeal to the ladies, and especially to my sisters in Christ. If you
don’t embrace your role as the recipient of our consideration we cannot act
effectively as the gentlemen. You can show your care and serve your brothers by
making it possible for us to become the kind of men God wants us to be.

That's my role: the recipient of consideration. I am not the giver of consideration or the agent of my change, the owner of my own destiny, I am the recipient of random men's consideration. And if I choose to abandon this helpless role, I'm harming every man I come across. Damn these arms that work! And pity the sad, sad men degrading into dirty, smelly ungentlemens because of my cruel insistence upon opening doors.

Give us opportunities to do the right thing. We may need subtle hints such as,
“Will you open the door for me please?” You know we need to be reminded
sometimes. And when you can see us trying, please encourage us and allow us to
serve you. If our actions are made from a servants-heart don’t take it as
implying that we don’t think you can open the door or carry the box. You may not
need our help, but we need to help. Please don’t take your side of this process
lightly, your response is just as important, as our initiative.

"Will you open the door for me, please" is not a subtle hint. (Unless the man in question is a Jägermonster, and then you should count yourself lucky nothing's on fire and be aware that there is no horse.) Allow you to serve me? How about allow you to keep me in my place as the recipient of door opening rather than a person fully capable of opening my own damn doors, thankyouverymuch. I don't care what you need, okay? Not my problem. You need to serve people? Join Habitat for Humanity or something. Leave me out of it.

Men and women have unique responsibilities. Both are necessary and both are
sorely lacking in our society today. We live in a society where chivalry has all
but died, where the common man has become the common person, and any differences
in gender roles are downplayed. Yet among God’s people I will say that
gentlemanly behavior should not be dead, that differences in roles are not
discriminatory but complementary; conveying value and purpose for both man and

Among God’s people we must understand that the woman is called to be supportive of godly manhood and her role is integral to the process by which men fulfill their responsibilities as men. Gentlemanly behavior is a training ground of Christian character for both men and women.

No, no, no. Just because you say something doesn't make it true. Differences in roles are discriminatory in the same way that separate but equal was discriminatory. In my mother's generation, women were nurses, secretaries or teachers. Those were the careers acceptable for women. End of story. My mother wanted to be an archeologist, she ended up a teacher. That happened to millions of women. You may say that all you want to do is open a door for me, but what you really want to do is close all the doors for all the women and quite frankly, you can go fuck yourself.

*Nick recently started occasional blocks of Invader Zim. GIR is my hero.

**Actually, there is this woman without arms who not only opens doors and drives a car, but changes her baby's diapers and puts on mascara. So women don't even need arms to open doors.

h/t to debrand at freejinger.


  1. I think his definition of "gentlemanly" is too narrow - and, of course, he's stupidly limiting it to men. But, okay, I'll work with his terms: "gentlemanly" behaviour may well be a thing of the past, because it's a sort of politeness that was specific to an earlier generation.

    That does not mean that politeness is a thing of the past, however. I hold doors for people when I think it will help: people carrying burdens; people wrangling children; or people who happen to be just the wrong distance behind me, so that if I let go of the door, it will smack them in the face. I do this for men and women alike. And in my generation, men and women generally do the same for me. It's a different kind of courtesy, but it's still courtesy, and saying that it isn't "gentlemanly" fairly well misses the point.

    Also, Invader Zim rocks.

  2. Good to have you back, PF - hope you had a great vacation.

    What is the gentlemanly thing to do when you hold a door for someone, they walk through it and don't thank you?

    I mean, I don't do it for the thanks, but there's got to be a certainly level of reciprocation, otherwise I'm just going to start slamming doors in people's faces just to preempt the rude.

  3. What helps with politeness is a big genuine smile to show that your act of politeness gives you pleasure, and is not a burden or a duty. When people see that you are pleased to be polite, with the offer of a chair or a door opened, they are more likely to accept, happily because then they feel there is a give and take and not an act of charity.
    Sometimes too, old fashioned type politeness is so out of fashion it causes pleasure when it is seen. For example I always stand up to greet when someone approaches and I am seated. I think people can appreciate that an effort has been made to show respect.

  4. Thank you. Thank you! This is one of my pet peeves about old-school sexism. I've been able to open my own doors since I was two. I really hate when I am first to a door, I open it and then some man rushes to take the door from me. I want to punch these men in the gut, but so very often, I am related to them. So when I was a tween, actually it was just about the time when I stopped saying the pledge of allegiance, I started intentionally "emasculating" these people. I wouldn't let them open my door and I sure as hell-fire would not allow them to take it from me. Instead I would open it and either hand them the door, or even more annoyingly, I would step to the side and force them through first.

    My dad is the worst since he (or his cane) very often has to get in my way to hold a door open for me so I have to duck under his arm to get through. To be fair, he does this to both sexes and all ages. I doubt he realizes how insulting the systematic door-opening is.

    I'm dancing like a monkey!

  5. @ ExPatMatt - I'm not sure I'm reading your tone correctly, but in my experience the reciprocity is that other people also hold the door for me when the occasion warrants. Verbal (or even nonverbal - a quick grin goes a long way) thanks are appreciated, but not ultimately necessary to establish reciprocity.

  6. Ergh. I hate it when goofs like this guy take a perfectly respectable and honorable thing such as chivalry and turns it into something effed up with his inane ramblings. I open doors, or hold them open, for plenty of folks – men, women, children, etc. I just like doing it and hearing their occasional “thank you”s. It’s not because I don’t think they can do it for themselves; it’s just something nice to do.


  7. I just like doing it and hearing their occasional “thank you”s. It’s not because I don’t think they can do it for themselves; it’s just something nice to do.

    Yup. I can't understand why people wouldn't see that as a reason to do, well, anything. And I don't define myself as a man because I hold doors open for others, nor do I define myself as less of a man if a woman holds a door for me.

    It all just fits under the category of common courtesy. And I'm reasonably certain that self-centeredness goes far beyond somebody not holding a door open.

  8. And I'm reasonably certain that self-centeredness goes far beyond somebody not holding a door open.

    I'm convinced that the fundie view of chivalry is designed to prevent people from realising this. By setting up a systematic set of rules: "Open door for women, shake hands with men, kiss hand for women," they never have to empathise with the other person: they just follow these rules ridgedly and are seen as "gentlemen".

    You're not a freaking gentleman if you've got good table manners and can follow some silly rules. You're a gentleman if you consistently do things for the benefit of others whenever you are given the chance to, which means the title of "gentleman" can damn well be applied to the other 51% of the population as well.

    Also, note the adverbs (are they adverbs? I'm not sure) in my examples: "for women, with men." That's a pretty consistent description of fundamentalist "chivalry."

  9. oh, PF - so good to see you back! i wasn't sure how long you were gonna be gone :) hope it was great!

    i'm mostly stuck in the damned wheelchair anymore [yes, it's NAME is "damned wheelchair" it just is]. and i have seen people come almost to blows, trying to be the person holding the door for me and Pete [Pete is most often the person pushing me]

    which is *always* better than the asshole [almost *always* a guy, always "dressed well" and etc] who not only doesn't hold the door or whatever, but almost *invariably* bitches about having to wait while Pete manuvers me past obstacles. most doorways have bumps that make it hard to push the chair thru - sometimes there are things in the way... most people either wait patiently or try to help, but there's always that ONE ASSHOLE who acts as if we're doing it just to piss him off, personally. [my favorite? at barnes and noble, one time, i got to listen to a VERY loud father lecture a groupp of teenage boys about "how to be gentlemen" - he stationed them at the door, so they could "practice". we went to leave, one of the kids opened the door for us, and the "father" started YELLING "No, NO! she HAS a man with her, it's HIS job" "but dad, he's pushing her wheelchair, it's gotta be hard to open a door and push a wheelchair!" "Well, she should have thought of that BEFORE she got in the chair!". seriously.]

  10. @denelian —

    « "Well, she should have thought of that BEFORE she got in the chair!". »

    Den, I like you, but I am still billing you for my keyboard I just broke with my forehead.

  11. I don't know what world this mook lives in. I subscribe to pretty much the same definition of "gentelmanly" behavior as he does. Not his primitive mindset, but the same behavior. I open doors, offer to carry boxes, push in and pull out chares, take coats, offer flowers etc.

    Unlike this guy I have never had these courtesies rejected. Some women are more or less appreciative than others but most will nod and smile, some are largely indifferent, and some are generaly impressed. None however have indicated any offense or disparagement. Maybe it is attitude, perhaps I don't convey the impression that I consider them objects in need of my assistance. In truth this "gentalmanliness" is as this guy indicates more for me than the recipient. It is how I see myself so it is how I behave. I realize it imposes no obligation on any woman (or man for that matter, I open doors for guys too) to be appreciative. If I felt I had offended a woman in this manner I would be mortified but so far that has not come up.

    Even a rather millitant young lesbian I have been socializing with lately, graciously allows me to open doors for her when going into bars and such. She is ex navy, very fit and strong, highly competent, and very self sufficient, she is quick to bristle if she feels a man(or woman)has slighted her, and certainly doesn't need any doors opened, yet she has no problem when I hold the door or offer to buy the next round.

    Maybe this guy should look to his attitude and presentation when wondering why women reject his courtesies. Perhaps he gives off that "rapish" vibe you were talking about.

  12. PS: I'm gonna sing the doom song now!

  13. Joé -

    go ahead, send me the bill - i think i've found his church, and i'll submit it to *them*


    and - yeah. some people suck, sigh. but i has online friends who make me laugh about it, later, thank you!


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